A view from Claire Beale

Convergence is the key to the future of our industry

Integration is the theme of the week.

Publicis Groupe started it by announcing yet more changes to its operating structure, this time called Sapient Inside.

The plan is to embed the digital and technology expertise of Publicis.Sapient into sister creative agencies. It’s obvious that creative and strategic excellence should be harnessed to tech activation. And since it’s the creative and strategic excellence bits that tech companies sometimes stumble over, reversing their skills into creative agencies is a smart manoeuvre.

Maurice Lévy, the Publicis Groupe chief, reckons it’s bigger than that, though. He says the Sapient Inside strategy illustrates that the traditional holding company model is finished. That’s quite a statement from a man who runs one. Lévy told this week’s 4A’s conference in Miami that Publicis Groupe is no longer a holding company: "We believe this model is dead. Finished. Publicis Groupe is a connected company… friction-free." Is Publicis Media Inside next on the stocks?

Anyway, the reason all of this is especially interesting to us is that it coincides with some convergence news of our own. We too are in the business of breaking down silos to better reflect and respond to the changes in our industry. Campaign is working on plans to combine with its sister brands Marketing, Media Week and Brand Republic to create a new superbrand, bringing together our specialist journalists and commentators from across the advertising, marketing and media industries to analyse and inspire creativity that builds brands and businesses.

As the best people in our industry know only too well, to thrive now requires a clearer focus and a bolder vision than ever before, with smart agencies and marketers working together as true partners to invest in creative ideas that drive measurable business growth. Lévy told the 4A’s: "Silos were indispensable to building strong capabilities and expertise. These good old days are finished. We are not stupid." The old partitions between marketers, creatives and media are unsustainable. Marketers now appoint their own production companies and do their own programmatic media trading in-house; creative agencies are offering media thinking; media agencies are producing creative work.

Success comes from better, fluid, integrated thinking that sits at the core of how brands interact with consumers. Campaign needs to get sharper, more flexible; championing the very best creative ideas, wherever they come from; celebrating brand-building client/agency relationships; calling out mediocrity while showcasing and inspiring excellence. If this also describes how your business is changing, we look forward to working with you.

claire.beale@haymarket.com      
@clairebeale